Marc A. Criley’s work has appeared in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Syntax & Salt, and others. This is his first appearance in Galaxy’s Edge.


Where are you? I trace ringing photons, syncopated cosmic ray beats, attenuated quaverings of taut space-time chords. Entangled atoms vibrating in quantum indecision sustain my faith. I range across light-years, plow gigaparsecs of quantum foam, dark matter tides, neutrino cacophonies. I hear the echo of your joy; your laughter spun into nebula, open cluster, gamma ray jets; imprinted on cosmic dust and intergalactic magnetic fields. An intergalactic palimpsest beneath white noise.


Eons we roamed—I collapsed dust clouds. You kindled stars. We spun whole galaxies into sheets and voids, soared through and sculpted big bang detritus. We twisted gravity, folded space, burned the very atoms of creation.

I kneaded clays, stirred warm brackish waters and thick ice-roofed seas. I shoved tectonic plates, cracked hydrothermal vents. I nudged atoms, finessed self-replicating molecules, wound an amino acid helix; optimized for transcription, mutation, propagation.

You bolted lightning through ultraviolet-ionized gas giants, stirred the coronaspheres of furious suns. You twisted magnetic vortices into helixes! Double helixes! You plummeted into energy-gorged accretion disks, you bent stellar jets. Fractal life amongst the quanta; self-assembling electromagnetic scaffolding draped with plasma sheets. Forged in the magnetic loops of fresh-lit stars!

We primed young worlds; evolve and adapt—or not. Life is hard but life is hardy. Someday a Spark—lit in clay or fire or water or air or plasma—would seek us. Faith.


Where are you? I’ve lost your vector, velocity, position. A few indecisive, entangled atoms my last tether. I am so lonely. Where in all these trillions upon trillions of megaparsecs are you ensnared?


A Spark chances upon me, the first! Seeking its own mystery, its origins. It finds me—but just me, alone. (I had so hoped we’d share this moment.)

They are all that we imagined, moreso! Rooted and forged by the helices of creation. This Spark and I, we devise a lingua astra. I share that I am of a pair, entangled. They ask of you. You are lost, I tell them, lost elsewhere.

It—no, they, them—they proffer aid. Without hesitation hurling themselves into the void, bestowing an infinitesimal reduction of an infinite search.

Another Spark alights. Then another. Offering aid, spreading the word of an impossible search. Soon more Sparks, calling out, coordinating, vectoring off into the cosmos. Divide and swarm. Oh so many Sparks! By the thousands, millions, the billions they embark; to scour a hundred billion stars in a hundred billion galaxies.


Here! a Spark cyphers in coded space-time, Here!

Backtracing the arrow of time to a relativistic super-massive black hole collision. You, so fascinated at the whorls and fractures of space-time infrastructure, was it your doing? Spinning quarks top and bottom, charmed and strange? In the quark-gluon plasma and relativistic jets of coalescing singularities did you attempt an interstitial analogue of helices and many-worlds transcriptors?

Seasoned we are, but uncertainty is the universal currency. A picosecond inflation—too fast!—trapped you within the event horizon. Your far-flung field gradients, vortex manipulators, and quantum sheathes came undone, hissed a dissipating echo; reverberating through gravitational lenses and dragged frames.

Entanglement persists, faith persists. An infinite gravity well slows time, I perch on the event horizon, I wait. Are you aware yet of your plight?

Photons flare, signal each miniscule evaporation.

Has even a moment passed for you? I will wait, alone and patient for your release, while the universe darkens and chills.


These others have no patience! A multitude of Sparks descend, the Sparks we kindled, a conflagration infinitely diverse! They seek us! Us! I am alone, I tell each one, for now an entangled uncertainty of faith is the all of you I hold.

Wave upon wave arrives riding blazing blue-shifted quantum twists of matter and energy. Plummeting to the edge of incandescence. They shear away the annihilating event horizon’s vacuum energy fringe, intensify the sheeting photon storms of virtual particle evaporation. Soon, my love, soon! All this cosmic vitality joins to disassemble, to disintegrate, to…disentangle.

I will tell you now that the universe is warm and aglow, coruscating with life.

I will tell you we have made many friends…and everyone is here to meet you.

Copyright © 2018 by Marc A. Criley